The Independence Day weekend brought a bizarre video from Mark Zuckerberg waving the American flag while riding a hydrofoil surfboard. The video has been widely reported and mocked, with no real suggestion it might be fake, begging the question, ‘What’s that flag for, Zuck?’ This country was founded on individual rights, including freedom of speech. Yes, I know Facebook is a private company and not subject to the First Amendment, but there is a distinct lack of fidelity at Facebook and other Big Tech companies to underlying values of free expression. Facebook bans people when Zuck doesn’t like what they say. Facebook has interfered with my accounts, warning people that my posting of official CDC numbers of COVID vaccine deaths is an affront to decency and good order. Twitter shut down two of my accounts completely - because the Tea Party is such a threat to national security, like we shut down interstate highways, or something. I won’t be back to Twitter. They suspend people for stating the obvious biological fact that men cannot give birth. Amazon removed a book taking a dim view of anti-science transgenderism. Pravda has spoken.
Free expression is under assault from several directions, not just woke tech companies playing footsie with their authoritarian pals in government who want to shut down the political Right.
Joe Biden tore up a Trump presidential order that tried to combat online censorship.
A Democrat-controlled House committee asked cable news providers to stop carrying news networks Democrats don’t like. They can call it ‘misinformation’ and ‘encouraging violence’ but that doesn’t cover up the fact the authoritarian Democrats in the House simply do not like free expression or hearing anything that contradicts their party line. Their authoritarian friends at CNN offer elaborate justifications for why their rivals should be silenced. The New York Times wants the federal government to get into the business of deciding what is true and what is false, what speech is worthy and what is not. A truth commission or ‘reality czar’ - more bad ideas from the Big Media wing of the authoritarian Left.
A public school system in Massachusetts encourages kids to rat out other kids for supposed bias and microaggressions. Call your principal ‘crazy’ and you’ll get a visit from the goon squad, ahem, ‘bias response team’. The idea of turning kids into spies is spreading.
IMF researchers have called for your Internet search history to be tied to your credit score. Banks would be given authority to track everyone’s search history and somebody somewhere would be given the authority to decide whether visiting your favorite websites disqualifies you from getting a car loan. What could possibly go wrong?
Late last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a Pakistani resolution condemning blasphemy in the name of countering Islamophobia and promoting interfaith dialogue. Ah yes, nothing promotes dialogue like ‘shut the hell up or we’ll behead you.’ You might not think the UN matters, but Hillary Clinton and others on the authoritarian Left have already tried to bring Islamic speech codes to the U.S. through the UN. Canada has those rules and, presumably, they would stop you from expressing your opinion about Islamic militias that shut down highways because, to do so, would be a hate crime, you see.
Connect the dots, and it’s a worrisome picture. There are reasons why America is supposed to protect free speech and underlying values of free expression. Here are just three: First, and foremost, in America, the people are sovereign and need free speech to discharge their sovereign duties. Second, President McKinley’s assassin came from a country that did not have free speech, narrowing his view of how to petition government for redress of grievances to firing a gun. Shut down free speech, and bad things are going to happen - it’s foreseeable. Finally, free speech protects your private life and all your personal relationships. Imagine not being able to express our ideas to each other. All human bonding would be destroyed and isolation would be all that would be left. Zuck really should bone up on why we have free expression, if we can get him off his surfboard and to stop mindlessly waving the flag around.